5 steps for recovering from a bad decision
finding light in the darkness

it's never too late: 5 steps for becoming who you want to be


A few months ago I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and picked up on this amazing quote, which stuck with me long after the (very long) film had ended. At one point in the film, Benjamin is giving his take on life, a collection of life lessons that I found to be incredibly powerful (and true!). Here, read them for yourself: 


"For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit; stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."


After hearing these words, I thought back to a night not too long ago when I was lying in bed and thinking to myself, "Why do I keep thinking about writing a novel? It's never really going to happen. I should just stop thinking about it and talking about it. I should just give up. I thought it would be written and published by now. I thought I'd be smiling at people from the back of my book by this point. But I'm not. I'm still doing what I've been doing so I might as well just forget it." Yes, those words were swirling around the mind of Ms. Positively Present herself. It was then that I realized that I was doing the very thing I tell my readers not to do all the time -- I was focusing on what wasn't working for me in my life instead of what was. And, instead of taking action about what I wanted to change, I was dwelling on how things weren't going my way. 

It was after revisiting the quote above and coming to the realization that I was exactly who I didn't want to be -- someone who sat around doing nothing while complaining that her life wasn't going the way she wanted it to -- that I recognized the desperate need for change in my own life. I came to the understanding that, contrary to my own negative thinking, I really wasn't too late for me to work on and someday reach my goal of writing a novel. I came to the understanding that, if I wanted it to happen, I was going to have to make it happen. 

It's one thing to come to some exciting realizations. It's quite another to actually take action on them. So many people have great ideas, huge dreams, and lofty goals, but how many people actually take action? I don't want to be one of those people who dreams of something and never works to make it a reality. However, making dreams a reality can often involve risk and risk is a scary thing. It's hard to put faith in yourself and really believe that you have the ability to do whatever is it that you want to do. But that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to develop a plan that will help me be the me I want to be. And here's what I'm going to do...

5 Steps for Becoming the Me I Want to Be


Step 1: Believe. First and foremost, I have to believe in myself. I have to believe that I can achieve what I want to achieve. If I let my mind be flooded with doubts, I will only become my own worst enemy. As you may know, it can be a lot harder to believe in yourself than it is to believe in others, but I know it's an essential first step to getting on the path to making my dreams a reality. 


Step 2: Think. As much as I'd just love to dive in head first to my dreams, creating a plan is essential and I have to give a lot of thought to what I'm going to do and what will be impacted by my new-found dedication to making my dream a reality. Once I've gotten an idea in my head, it can be hard for me not to simply react, but it's imperative that I give some careful thought to what I want and how I'm going to get it. 


Step 3: Plot. After giving all of the issues surrounding my goals careful thought and consideration, it's time to start plotting. It's time to take all of the little bits and pieces of what I've dreamed of for so long and start making it into a reality. This is the hardest part of any dreamer's plan. When you have big dreams, it's hard to focus on the nitty gritty details of getting it all done, but if I want this to be real, I have to develop a plan of action. 


Step 4: Act. Once the plotting's done and there's a plan in place, it will be time to act. The acting can be the hardest part. The risks will come into play here and it will be a leap of faith (in myself!) that will have to propel myself forward. I will have to take action if I want my dream to be real and I know these actions will be scary -- but I also know that if I believe in myself and look around at all of the other people who believe in me, I'll be able to take that leap. 


Step 5: Create. Finally, the fun part will begin. Once I've figured it all out and taken action, I'll be able to begin creating, taking those dreams of mine and pulling them down to reality. This will be the step I'll be thinking of as I'm thinking and plotting and acting. It will be the motivator and the best reward for all of the work it will take to get to this point. It won't be an easy step (maybe even the hardest of all!), but it will be the most rewarding. 

For so long, I've had dreams and I always had that "someday" mentality. Now I wake and realize that it is someday and there's no magical formula that will turn dreams into reality. Unless, of course, you believe that hard work and a lot of effort can swirl together and be considered magic. It's taken me a long time to really start making an effort to do what I've always wanted to do. I've always had this idea that it was something that would just happen and I was waiting for that day when it would. Now I'm no longer waiting. I'm working toward that goal and, lucky for me, I'm not alone. I have so many wonderful, supportive people in my life and I know they will help me take these dreams of mine and turn them into something I can hold in my hand. It's not going to be easy, but I have a good feeling that, in the end, it will all be worth it... And, as George Elliot said, "It's never too late to be who you might have been." 

What advice to you have for a dreamer like me? 
How do you make your dreams into reality?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Determination and if you falter a litlle don't be discouraged just start again.
Keep your feet on the ground but your eyes (and heart) on the sky.

I love that movie and that quote! Thanks for sharing your journey with us - what a great post!

I've found that what helps me achieve long term 'lofty' goals is to do a little bit each day. No matter how small, those little things build upon each other - best wishes in your goals you CAN do it if you're passion is BIG enough. ;)

I think most people don't pursue their goals/dreams out of fear and another way of thinking of fear is

F - false

E- evidence

A- appearing


you've already seen what negative self-talk can achieve, nothing, it's not true - go get 'em!

Keeping this blog is already one step to achieving your writing dreams, that of being in the habit of writing. We've got a family friend (a published author several times over) that keeps a writers blog - check it out if you ever need some motivation/inspiration:


thanks Dani ! always writing the stuff I needed to read.

it's so true that we gotta start focusing on the stuff that works then the stuff that doesnt !

"Step 1: Believe. First and foremost, I have to believe in myself. I have to believe that I can achieve what I want to achieve. If I let my mind be flooded with doubts, I will only become my own worst enemy. As you may know, it can be a lot harder to believe in yourself than it is to believe in others, but I know it's an essential first step to getting on the path to making my dreams a reality."

Being able to constantly believe in myself is definitely a challenge and the part I need to work on the most !

Good luck with your novel !

Great post! I had not seen that quote before and it is a keeper, for sure. The five step plan you laid out is is achievable and exciting too! Thanks for getting great info out there for us all. )

This is so perfect for where I am right now!!
Thanks much ~

Heidi - It makes me so happy to hear that you liked the quote and the post! Excellent point about doing a little bit each day. Lots of little steps can add up to big achievements. And also a great point about fear. I've never thought about it that way, but it's such a true way of looking at the fear that can hold us back from our dreams. I'm definitely going to check out your friend's website; thanks for sharing the link in your comment!

Rocky - You're welcome! I'm glad you got some value out of this post. Like you said, believing in yourself can certainly be a challenge but I think it's such an important foundation for achieving any goal. Thanks so much for wishing me luck!

CC - Thank you! It's a great, inspiring quote and I'm so glad I was able to share it with you. I'm so glad you appreciated the info in this post. Thanks for letting me know!

Bobbie - That's great! I'm so glad you could connect with what I was writing about in this post. Obviously this topic means a great deal to me and it makes me happy to know that others can relate to what I'm experiencing.

Roselie - Thank you so much for your comment! Your words of inspiration mean a lot to me and I definitely take them to heart. Determination is key -- as is realizing that it's okay to stumble. I'll do my best to remember your words whenever I feel discouraged.

Hi. You seem to have all the tools in place, so all one is say is all the very best. Write from your heart, be in the moment, take breaks and go for walks so creativity is replenished. You will be a great novelist. God bless

How right you are. These five steps are just what a person needs to get themselves moving and motivated.

I know how it feels to know it in your hear (what you advise others) and in your heart (doing it yourself). It is so easy to say, but not always easy to remember to do.

I completely relate to this post, Dani, on almost every level. In the last four years I've been trying to screw up the courage to get started on my dream in a measureable way. I've flirted with it at times - taking courses, traveling abroad to study - but I have pulled back and suffered from severe doubts. What I've always wanted to do is paint. Lately, I've been kicking myself for not pushing my efforts into high gear earlier in my life (I just turned forty). I have a demanding career in a completely unrelated field and it's going to take courage to give this a go. Even making the daily commitment that I need to make has been difficult (simply because of fear, leading to procrastination...), but slowly I've been integrating art practise into my daily life and it's getting easier. No matter what happens, I won't be disappointed if I invest my time in this. Good luck with your work! PS I love love love George Eliot.

Ok...I knew you were cool when I got introduced to this site...and how I couldn't turn away from it and have to check it almost daily. Now I know you really ROCK!!! The George Elliot quote!!! Love it...and it has been on my email signature for quite some time as a reminder to myself that's its never too late. I love this post and it comes at the right time for me too. I've been trying to pursue my passion too for quite some time and do let the fear sometimes get the best of me. Sometimes fear can keep you on your toes if you use it to push yourself...a little way of looking at that positively. The bad is letting it keep you from doing it of course. Love this post...love your thought process and sharing..and love that you put a quote from George Elliot that really stuck with me the first time I saw it.

I say you have a really great head start to writing your novel. You are a fantastic writer. Best of luck to you for your start..and thanks for helping me with mine. Oh and that movie...ROCKED! I think I remember feeling really moved by that part you mention as well...that whole message of that movie moved me very much. Thanks Dani!

Uzma - Thanks so much! It makes me feel great to know people out there think I have the right tools to get going. You've offered some great advice and I really appreciate it.

Steve - Thanks for your comment. As you said, it can be hard to deal with the advice of others vs. what you feel in your own heart and that's something I'm struggling a lot with right now. I'm trying my best to focus on what will work for me and I'm hoping that someday it will lead to great success.

Stephanie - I completely know what you mean about flirting with your dream and then pulling back. I've done that too and it can be so frustrating. I really think you should do what you must to focus on your passion. If you truly love art (and it sounds like you do!), you should find a way to incorporate it into your life. The way I see it, we have only one life and it's up to us to make the most of it! Thanks so much for wishing me luck -- and I wish the same to you. It's never too late to start doing what you love!

Saggleo - That comment ROCKED! Thank you so much! After reading that, I feel truly inspired. It makes me feel amazing to know that someone like you has such confidence in me. I'm so happy you've become a reader of Positively Present and I hope you know how much I truly appreciate your feedback. It means the world to me to receive comments like this one. And I'm really happy to know that this post came at the right time for you (and that you have that quote in your email signature! how awesome!). Thank you for your good luck wishes and for sharing this comment! Best of luck to you too in pursuing your passion. As Elliot says, it's never too late!

I'm really big on the "PLOT" approach. Figure out what you want, the figure out what it would take to get there. It's a problem-solving approach, the belief that it can be done if you just figure out how.

I really needed this reminder, Dani. Thank you - as always :)

I think fear plays apart in everyone life. But without it, we will never know how it feels to be successful. So i guess, fear can't be that big of a deal. As long as we recognize it and destroy it with affirmation and the action to create this reality for us.

Great post, and I must say perfect timing for my current situation. I am stuck in a rut and like you have begun to doubt myself and my abilities, its funny how one little negative thought can errupt into a cascade of negative thoughts and its hard to work your way out of it. But I completely agree the only way to get back on course is to be pro-active. So kudos to you for doing so :)

I just stumbled upon your blog and I really liked this post. I totally agree with you, it is never too late to do what makes you happy. Keep at it and you'll write that book! :)

Your 5 steps are spot on. Always hold those people who support you near and dear to your heart because that will always keep you going.

Eva - Yes, the plot's a very important, as is problem solving. I'm definitely going use those techniques as I tackle this situation.

Laura - You're welcome! I'm glad this post served as a positive reminder for you.

Jonathan - That's very true. Fear is a part of life and it's an essential part, something we need to work with and not against. I agree that recognizing it and using is the best way to handle fear.

Zoya - Thank you! I'm so glad this post resonated with you. It really is true that one negative thought can erupt into many negative thoughts... But, as you said, being proactive is the way to go. I'm working on it daily and I hope you can do the same in your situation. Best of luck!

I am so inspired by your daily posts. The 23 ways to change your workday is a favorite but this post is MY fav!

After reading it I said I'm going to do it, finally. I am going back to school!!...so I can learn how to change someone's life. What better way to do that then to become a teacher.
So thank you for that!

Thanks for inspiring my most recent post! check it out, id be honored if you read it.:)

HighHopes - Thank you SO much for your comment! I'm so thrilled to know that this post is your favorite because it's one that obviously means a great deal to me. Going back to school to become a teacher is such a great goal and I think it's fantastic that you're going to change lives! Best of luck with that and all of your goals. I will definitely check out your post. Can't wait to read it!

all i want to say is a big thankyou.
i was having an extreme low just then and as soon as i came onto your blog i just felt like i should be focusing on the solution rather than the problem because otherwise i'm never gonna get anywhere.

thankyou so much for your wise words and your positive outlook. you really give me hope for leading a better life.

Thanks, Dani!

Lillian - You're welcome! I'm so happy that you were inspired my my blog post. About a year and a half ago, right before I started this site, it was others' blog posts that inspired me to take action and start making my life a positive one. It's been quite a journey but now, here I am, passing on that inspiration. I really appreciate your comment and I hope that Positively Present continues to inspire you!

Stephanie - No problem! I'm glad I was able to write a post that left both me and others feeling more inspired and positive about the directions they want to take in their lives. Thanks for reading and commenting!

I never wanted to be a "has-been" who never was :)

I have wanted to be everything from Indiana Jones to a powerful Wizard. At the end of the day, I'm still writing my story forward. I think I'm more of a Viking warrior anyway.

J.D. - Haha, great comment! I think we all want to be so many things, but it's a great feeling to focus on at least one of them and turn the dream into a reality.

Action is the magic word. Everything that I have done depended on a plan of action and carrying those actions through to fruition. Good luck with your plan Dani.

Syd - Thank you! I'm still working on it all the time and I'm very excited about it! Thanks for the encouragement. :)

This post was sent to me by my best friend, who has been standing behind me, trying his damndest to push me to move. I'm an aspiring animator, and it's been a dream of mine for years now. Ultimately, I want to open my own studio, but of course, the fears of failure, that what-ifs, the complete lack of self confidence; these all have piled up and formed a wall that to me, seems so thick, I'll never break it down, and so I shouldn't even try. So I get down on myself, and I give up, but he hasn't.

I just wanted to say that I'm so glad to have read your words, which are essentially all the thoughts that swim through my head on a constant basis. I've always done my best to keep in mind that I'm not the only one who experiences these feelings of self doubt, but to read them out in the open has been a relief for me. I am bookmarking this page, so that I may always return to it when I need that reminder.

I wish you the best, and hope to one day read your first novel.

Deter - That's so awesome that your friend sent you this post! It sounds like he really cares about you and wants you to succeed. I know how hard it can be to have a dream you want to achieve and to be too scared at times to actually make progress. I'm so happy you were able to relate to this post. Best of luck with the animating! I love animation and I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

The comments to this entry are closed.